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West Lothian Council

Local climate information from CAPE

Climate change is a global challenge, but reaching the UK's carbon emissions goals requires local action.

Local councils, either through their services, or through their influence on residents and local businesses, have influence over one-third of UK emissions.

mySociety and Climate Emergency UK have created CAPE - to make councils' commitments, plans, and progress on climate action transparent and accessible to all.

We are working to improve the quality of information that is available about local climate action, and about the levels of public support for climate action.

By promoting information sharing and constructive scrutiny, we aim to drive more effective and coordinated action to reduce emissions.

For West Lothian Council we have collected the following information: powers & responsibilities, your representatives, declarations & pledges, climate documents, council actions scorecard, emissions data, emissions reduction projects, local polling and related councils.

Powers & Responsibilities

Like all councils in Scotland, West Lothian Council is a Unitary Authority.

This means it does not split different kinds of responsibilites with a county council.


This kind of council has powers and responsibilities for:

Council buildings and staff

Climate actions might include:

  • making council offices more energy efficient
  • incentivising ‘Active Travel’ or public transport use among employees
  • providing carbon literacy training for employees
Environmental health

Climate actions might include:

  • reducing industrial emissions through air quality enforcement
  • bringing up insulation and energy efficiency standards through enforcement of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Decent Homes Standard 2000, for cold and damp conditions in private rental and social housing

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Passenger transport

Climate actions might include:

  • encouraging bus and private hire operators to use low-emission vehicles, through licensing requirements or Clean Air Zones
  • incentivising bus use by improving routes, timetables, and ticket prices through ‘Enhanced Partnerships’ with operators
  • proposing to central government the development of light rail / tram networks that integrate, rather than compete, with other modes of transport in the area

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Planning and building control

Climate actions might include:

  • imposing reasonable requirements that new developments comply with energy efficiency standards and get a proportion of their energy from local, renewable sources (Planning and Energy Act, 2008)
  • incorporating additional energy performance standards into their Local Plan, for new works that require planning permission
  • using Area Action Plans to guide development proposals towards lower carbon emissions or more cycling and walking routes, for example
  • enforcing legislation that requires private rental properties to be of Energy Efficiency Rating E or above (Energy Efficiency Regulations, 2015)
  • funding energy efficiency improvements on existing homes, through initiatives such as Green Homes Grants

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Schools and libraries

Climate actions might include:

  • reducing the carbon footprint of civic buildings through better insulation and renewable energy use
  • incentivising ‘Active Travel’ or public transport use among employees
  • providing carbon literacy training for employees
  • encouraging eco-clubs at schools
  • using school land to plant trees and hedgerows, or to grow food

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Housing

Climate actions might include:

  • setting energy standards above building regulations (Planning and Energy Act, 2008)
  • enabling housing associations to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock through loans
  • where councils operate their own social housing, prioritising energy efficiency – for example, by requiring Passivhaus standard for newly built schemes

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Spending, procuring, and investing

Climate actions might include:

  • embedding carbon impact assessment as part of the council’s budgeting and financial accountability process
  • utilising Public Works Loan Board loans or the Business Rates Retention Scheme to invest in emissions-reducing capital projects that otherwise wouldn’t get funded
  • specifying low carbon equipment and practices when procuring for relevant services from suppliers
  • prioritising positive environmental impacts during procurement, through the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
Transport planning

Climate actions might include:

  • incentivising ‘Active Travel’ like walking and cycling by creating or widening footways and cycleways
  • incentivising Electric Vehicle use by assigning street space to EV charging
  • disincentivising the use of fossil fuel cars through congestion charging,low-traffic neighbourhoods, or the reduction of parking space

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Waste collection and disposal

Climate actions might include:

  • establishing ‘Joint Waste Solutions’ with neighbouring councils, to get more value out of waste, recycling, and street cleaning contracts
  • running marketing campaigns to encourage residential recycling, reuse, and waste minimisation

See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

Read more about local authority powers across the UK, at The Institute for Government.

Your representatives

We also run WriteToThem.com, which you can use to find out all your representatives from different layers of local, devolved, and national democracy.

You can also use it to send a message to your councillors, MP, or other representatives.

Declarations & pledges

Climate emergency declaration

West Lothian Council declared a climate emergency on Sept. 24, 2019.

Climate pledges

We couldn’t find any climate pledges from this council. If you’ve found one, let us know!


A council declaring a climate emergency is an official recognition of the urgent need to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change at a local level. See a list of councils which have declared a climate emergency.

A whole area pledge is a commitment to reduce emissions across the geographic area, including emissions by homes and businesses. See a list of councils which have made a whole area pledge.

A council only pledge is a commitment to reduce emissions that the council is directly responsible for through its buildings, operations, and services. See a list of councils which have made a council-only pledge.

Climate documents

Last update: Sept. 26, 2023

The following climate documents have been published by West Lothian Council.

You can read, search, and see topics we've identified that are present in each document.

You can also search across all plans stored in our database.


Climate Actions Scorecard

This council’s climate actions as of May 2023 were assessed and scored by trained Climate Emergency UK volunteers, as part of the Council Climate Actions Scorecards project.

Show the full Scorecard Read more about the scoring process

SectionWest Lothian CouncilAverage single tier council
Total score33%35%
Section 1 Buildings & Heating
9/20
8.7/20
Section 2 Transport
1/18
4.8/18
Section 3 Planning & Land Use
9/23
8.7/23
Section 4 Governance & Finance
8/27
6.1/27
Section 5 Biodiversity
2/9
3.3/9
Section 6 Collaboration & Engagement
9/18
9.8/18
Section 7 Waste Reduction & Food
7/15
4.9/15

Emissions data

708.5 ktCO2

Total 2020 emissions

3.9 tCO2

per person

1.6 ktCO2

per km2

37%

Domestic

29%

Transport

20%

Industry

8%

Commercial

6%

Public Sector

1%

Agriculture

The chart below shows change over time in different kinds of emissions. This chart only shows emissions the local authority has influence over, but other national changes also affect emissions.

The reduction over the last decade mostly reflects decarbonisation of the national electricity grid. This is why the change over time is less interesting than the mix of different emissions types. This reflects different paths required for different council areas to reach carbon zero.

We have used these emissions to put councils into clusters with similar emissions. West Lothian Council is in the urban mainstream cluster. See councils with similar emissions profiles, or see all councils in this cluster.

Data from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy “subset dataset”, representing carbon dioxide emissions within the scope of influence of local authorities.

Emissions reduction projects

Local authorities in Scotland are required to publish yearly data on their compliance with their climate change duties – including the emissions reduction projects they are undertaking.

See all of West Lothian Council’s projects

24

Projects

11.7 ktCO2 per year

Total annual emissions savings

£5,627,000

Total capital cost

Local polling for West Lothian Council

This data is based on a national poll that has been adjusted for the demographics of the local area. Learn more about MRP polling.

Based on polling conducted by PublicFirst for Onward, and Survation for RenewableUK in 2022. Constituency level data has been adapted to local authority areas.


Support for Net Zero

  • 59% support the UK plan to reach Net Zero by 2050.
  • 28% neither support nor oppose the UK plan to reach Net Zero by 2050.
  • 13% oppose the UK plan to reach Net Zero by 2050.

Support for Net Zero (when described as expensive).

  • 52% The UK should keep it’s plan to reach Net Zero by 2050, even if it’s going to be expensive, as we need to stop damaging the environment.
  • 28% The UK should scrap its plan to reach Net Zero by 2050, even if it’s going to be damaging to the environment, as it is going to be too expensive.
  • 19% Don't Know.

Support for local renewable energy projects

  • 88% support renewable energy projects in their local area.

Support for renewable energy in general

  • 88% support offshore wind.
  • 83% support onshore wind.
  • 91% support solar power.
  • 90% support tidal energy.
  • 91% support wave energy.
  • 54% support nuclear energy.

Other resources

westlothian.gov.uk
West Lothian Council’s official homepage.
Tyndall Centre Carbon Budget report
Check West Lothian Council’s ‘carbon budget’ – their share towards meeting the UK’s Paris agreement targets.

Download our data

Data sources

Much of our data is crowdsourced by an army of volunteers filling in Google spreadsheets. This is then combined with some standard data to enable it to be matched up across sources.

Links to council climate action plans were crowdsourced in this spreadsheet. If you find a plan document that we’ve missed, read our guide on what we consider a climate action plan and how to add one to our spreadsheet.

Climate Emergency UK

Council climate emergency declarations and net zero commitments were largely collated by Climate Emergency UK staff.

Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Local authority CO2 emissions estimates are collated by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Council Climate Plan Scorecards Mapolitical

We make use of data from our Council Climate Plan Scorecards project, which was collected with the support of Mapolitical, who donated their UK Government Political Stakeholder data and Look-up API to help us communicate with local authority officers. Read more on the Council Climate Plan Scorecards site.

Download all plans

Download ZIP archive of all documents

This includes all the documents we’ve found including Climate Action Plans, Climate strategies, pre plans etc. As well as the PDFs, or HTML pages, of the plans, this includes a CSV file (plans.csv) with details and sources for all the included files, along with information like GSS codes to enable linking to other data. The CSV file is available separately, see below for details.

API

Access our JSON API

We are working to expose an increasing quantity of our data through our JSON API. The API pages themselves include a full description of the data available.

CSV/Excel files

All our public climate and local authority data is avaliable through our data portal.

The following files are avaliable as CSV and Excel files.

If you'd like help working with our data to include it in your service, please get in touch and we will help you do that.

Download council plan metadata

Download council net zero commitments

Download climate emergency declarations

Download emissions reduction projects

Download citizens' assembly dataset

All the above CSV files include the council GSS code, and a three letter council code you can use with the API, to enable matching data across files, and with other sources. The links contain full descriptions of all columns.

The CSV of emissions reduction projects is limited to Scottish local authorities (see reasoning below)

Full explanations of the data can be found in the guidance on the Sustainable Scotland Network site.

Licensing

The API data and CSV files are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The ZIP file is unlicensed as it contains work issued by local authorities under many licenses.

Similar councils

We have built on open datasets to provide comparisons between councils that are similar in a number of dimensions. You can read a detailed breakdown of how we calculated these dimensions on our blog, but here’s a high-level summary:

Download our nearest neighbour datasets.

Emissions reduction projects

We are able to display emissions reduction projects reported by Scottish local authorities, thanks to the ‘Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies; Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015’ which requires them to submit reports on their climate actions to the Sustainable Scotland Network website each year.

We automatically collect these reports, extract information about the local authorities’ emissions reduction projects, and display them in a more accessible, interactive format, here.

Sadly local authorities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have no corresponding reporting requirement, so data is unavailable for them.

Feedback

If you find this data useful we’d love to hear from you about how it was used. It’s helpful for guiding future work, providing examples to others and for talking to existing and current funders.

Cite this page

If you've found this site useful and want to cite it, you can use a version of the following format:

mySociety, Climate Emergency UK (2023). CAPE: West Lothian Council. Available at: http://cape.mysociety.org/councils/west-lothian-council/ [Accessed 30 Nov 2023].

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